Pathways to Professionalism
What is it? An Overview
Professional Development is progression along a unique pathway toward one’s career goals. In the case of Child Care it starts with the 40 hours required by the state then proceeds to a CDA, FCCPC – Florida Child Care Professional Credential or ECPC – Early Childhood Professional Credential. Only the ECPC from a vocational school or Community or State College can be used for credit toward an AS degree. In other words, DOE (Department of Education) sponsored classes articulate to higher education whereas DCF (Department of Children and Families) classes do not. An FCCPC or ECPC can be used to earn a National CDA by applying to the Council for Professional Recognition (http://www.cdacouncil.org/) for certification, which in turn may qualify for credit from some community colleges. From the ECPC, FCCPC or National CDA one can go on to an AS or an AA degree. From the BA level one can go to the Masters level and from there to the EdD or doctorate.
In the midst of these trainings, one can pursue the Director’s credentials at the foundational level with a FCCPC/ECPC or the advanced level with an AS, AA or BA.
Both the National CDA and the FCCPC or ECPC must be renewed. The National CDA must be renewed after three years for the first renewal and every five years after that. A renewal request can be downloaded from the website. The FCCPC or ECPC must be renewed every 5 years.
A FLORIDA CDAE (FCCPC or ECPC) OR NATIONAL CDA MUST BE RENEWED PRIOR TO ITS EXPIRATION DATE. ANY INDIVIDUAL WITH AN EXPIRED FLORIDA CDAE, FCCPC, ECPC OR NATIONAL CDA WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO BE THE LEAD TEACHER FOR THE VPK CLASSROOM. ALSO, ANY INDIVIDUAL WITH AN EXPIRED FLORIDA FCCPC/ECPC OR NATIONAL CDA WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO BE COUNTED AS A CREDENTIALED STAFF PERSON FOR THE PURPOSE OF MEETING DCF LICENSING STANDARDS.
A CDA/ FCCPC or ECPC can be acquired in a number of ways. Both DCF and DOE have lists of approved programs for the state of Florida. They offer the choice of face-to-face classes, online and hybrid classes (face/face + online). For DOE approved classes which carry credits on to institutes of higher learning, classes must be taken at a Vo-Tech School or Community or State College. DCF approved classes may be taken from a variety of providers including approved on-line companies. One needs to be sure before agreeing to any program that it is approved by DCF or DOE, or that it can be certified with the National CDA credential. The National CDA is accepted all over the country, whereas the FCCPC or ECPC is accepted only in Florida. There are other certifications available in lieu of the National CDA such as the CCDE (Christian Child Development Education Credential) OR VCDE (Values Child Development Education Credential).